The writing life, like the contemplative spiritual life, is about taking a close look at oneself and at the world, and about trying to be completely truthful about what one sees there. Where there is brokenness it is acknowledged, mourned, held up for healing. Where there is joy it is claimed, celebrated, spread around. And in doing any of this honestly, without, as the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa says, averting one’s eyes, the writer is both faithful to a practice and faithful to a vocation.
Try substituting something else instead of writing/writer in the quote above: the pastoring life, the parenting life, the teaching life, the retiree’s life, or try it without any adjective at all–“Life itself, like the contemplative spiritual life, is about . . . .” However you cast it, does the quote still hold? Why or why not?